In a press release issued yesterday, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced
that the New York State Division of Human Rights has adopted new regulations
that ban discrimination and harassment against transgender people. The
regulations are effective immediately, and affirm that transgender individuals
are protected under the state's Human Rights Law. According to the
press release, "All public and private employers, housing providers,
businesses, creditors and others should know that discrimination against
transgender persons is unlawful and will not be tolerated anywhere in
the state of New York."
New York State's Human Rights Law, enacted in 1945, prohibits discriminatory
practices on grounds such as "sexual orientation" and "sex"
among others, including "disability." Anyone recognized under
these terms cannot legally be subject to discrimination in opportunities
for employment, education, public accommodation" or with reference
to "the ownership, use and occupancy of housing accommodations and
commercial space." Specifically, the law acknowledges "unwelcome
sexual advances" and sexual harassment toward domestic workers as unlawful.
According to The Empire State Pride Agenda, these very areas continue to
be a stumbling block for transgender people. For instance, even with some
local protections in place 75% of transgender people have suffered workplace
harassment in New York. With respect to spaces of public accommodations
and services, 53% of transgender New Yorkers have been either harassed
or discriminated against. Additionally, since the majority of counties
in New York do not have protections in place, transgender people could
be legally discriminated against in most of the state. Governor Cuomo's
initiative has recognized the demand for legal action on these fronts
and broadens the specific scope of protections granted by the law so that
it may include transgender New Yorkers.
Drawing on the GENDA bill, which has been stalled in the state senate,
Cuomo's rules establish "gender identity" and "the
status of being transgender" as unlawful grounds for discrimination.
The regulations incorporate "gender identity" and "the
status of being transgender" into the term "sex", wherever
it appears in the Human Rights Law. This particularly includes any section
within the text which addresses harassment or discrimination by virtue
of "sex", or "sex" as a "protected category."
Similarly, gender dysphoria, as a known medical condition will now qualify
wherever the term "disability" functions in the text. Discrimination
or harassment pertaining to such a condition will now be considered a
violation of disability restrictions.
Should you have questions regarding this article or any other legal issues
concerning the LGBT community, please contact Mr. Milizio at 516.437.4385 x108 or